The Philadelphia Inquirer, Tuesday, January 11, 2005
In the editorial by Dr. Katherine Ramsland, assistant professor of forensics psychology at DeSales and an expert on serial killers, she stresses the importance of accuracy on the part of all courtroom experts and how "lack of care in expert testimony diminishes trust in the legal process." She refers to the Jan. 6th decision by an appeals court to overturn the Andrea Yates' conviction and order a new trial because the defendant's rights may have been violated due to false testimony. Yates is considered to be mentally unstable and Dr. Ramsland believes a settlement, rather than a new trial, would be in Yates' best interest. Yates was convicted of killing her five children in June 2001. As part of the evidence, the prosecution offered that Yates, an avid viewer of TV's Law and Order, may have related to an episode of the program that had a mother acquitted of drowning her children by reason of insanity due to post-partum depression. Park Dietz, the prosecution's psychiatrist and mental health expert, and a consultant for Law and Order, found Yates to be mentally competent. It was learned that a different TV program, not Law and Order, had featured an episode with this plot. Although jurors were told about this before sentencing, the appeals court believed the original testimony was legally problematic, since it was mentioned in closing argument.
Press Release: The Yates case: Shoddy testimony diminishes trust | Posted on: 1/11/2005
For more info:
Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications
DeSales University | 2255 Station Avenue | Center Valley, PA 18034
610.282.1100 x1219 | Tom.McNamara@desales.edu